Six Nations Twickenham Hospitality: After the RFU announced that Eddie Jones would become the new head coach of the England Rugby team in December, we take a look at some of the big decisions facing the Australian coach ahead of the 2016 Six Nations. Eventmasters VIP Six Nations Twickenham hospitality guests will see Jones’s first game in charge at HQ as England take on Ireland on Saturday 27th February 2016. That game is followed by a World Cup revenge mission as England play Wales on Saturday 12th March 2016.
One of the first major decision of Jones’s tenure will to decide who will captain his side for the next four years as they build towards the 2019 World Cup in Japan. The current skipper Chris Robshaw has led the side since 2012, but Jones has said he “will sit down and chat with Chris Robshaw” before adding “The first thing with a captain is that he has to be one of the first players selected.”
We take a look at four potential candidates for the captaincy should Jones ask Robshaw to step down from his role. Don’t miss your chance to see the new-era of English rugby with our Twickenham hospitality packages for the 2016 Six Nations.
Wasps lock Launchbury was one of the few players to perform at a world class level during England’s disastrous World Cup campaign. His performance against Australia was exceptional and earned him the Man of the Match award.
While Launchbury may not be the most obvious candidate, having never captained his club or country. But in terms of making the side he is without doubt one of the first names on the team sheet. He is also a player who leads by example, his work-rate and attitude are superb. A player who his teammates will follow as he gives his all.
But having gone with an inexperienced captain last time around, will Jones take a different route and look for somebody with more leadership experience?
Now people may say that somebody with a disciplinary record like Hartley’s shouldn’t be captaining his national team. But when it comes to England, Hartley actually has a very good record.
His impact on the team is huge, he missed the World Cup and England endured a torrid time at both the scrum and the lineout. He is also a man who seems to rise to the occasion, remember when Warren Gatland tried to get under his skin before the 2011 Six Nations? Hartley responded with one of the best performances of his career.
On his best form he easily makes the team and has proven to be one of England’s key men in recent years.
Will Eddie Jones trust Hartley to keep his cool and give him the responsibility of being England captain?
Maro Itoje maybe isn’t a name that springs to the front of people’s minds when they think of the next England captain but he should be in the reckoning. Itoje looks to be a born leader.
The young star has made a superb start to the Aviva Premiership season and has already captained Saracens on several occasions. He also captained the England U20’s to the Junior World Championships in 2014, where they beat South Africa in the final.
The 21-year-old doesn’t seem fazed by any challenge, he produced a herculean performance against Clermont in the European Champions Cup semi-finals last season, along with equally impressive performances against Bath in the Aviva Premiership Final and the England Saxons game against Ireland.
This could be left field selection or an inspired decision from Jones. Itoje has long been spoken of as a future England captain, but is it too soon?
Leicester Tigers scrum-half Ben Youngs is another player who has been touted as a potential England captain.
The number nine has captained his club side on numerous occasions and spoke about how that responsibility was a big reason he returned to form in 2014/15. He certainly seems to relish the extra responsibility.
While scrum-half is an extremely competitive position in the England squad, Youngs is the most experienced and the most consistent. It would be a huge surprise if he isn’t the starting scrum-half in the 2016 Six Nations.
Eddie Jones installed George Gregan is his Australia captain in 2001, will he do the same with Youngs?
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